105 Davis DR, Newmarket, ON L3Y2M9 1.844.292.8200 905.235.8200

What causes tooth discoloration?

Stained, from the outside or from the inside could cause tooth discoloration.  There are three main factors:


Staining on the outer layer of the tooth (enamel), usually caused by drinking dark colored drinks such as coffee or wine.  Smoking also causes extrinsic staining


Staining that occurs in the inner structure of tooth (dentin).  Some factors include:

  • Overconsumption of fluoride during childhood (fluorosis)
  • Use of tetracycline antibiotics
  • Tooth trauma damaging the pulp or internal bleeding
  • A rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta


As you age, your enamel thins allowing the dentin to show through.  However, dentin yellows overtime as well. Thus, teeth start to look yellower with age.

Prevent Extrinsic Staining

Try to brush your teeth after every meal.  Drinking water, or rinsing with water after drinking coffee, tea, or wine helps prevent staining as well.

Prevent Intrinsic Staining

Fluorosis is very common in intrinsic stains.  To prevent fluorosis, avoid giving your children too much fluoride at an early age.  You can also buy toothpaste that is fluoride-free.  Once the enamel is formed, fluoride cannot discolor teeth.


  • Normally, extrinsic stains can be removed with regular professional cleanings and proper home care.
  • If trauma has caused damaged to tooth’s pulp, the tooth may turn dark. Root canal treatments with internal whitening can reverse that.
  • Tetracycline-stained teeth can be covered with veneers or crowns.
  • At home and in-office whitening in which a bleaching gel is applied to the enamel

Seeking professional advice would be the best way to figure out what is the best option to treat tooth discoloration. Contact of Newmarket dental office today for a free consultation from our best dentists!